Summary of Quality Control Procedures for
Technical Preparation of Surgical Pathology Slides
The Dermatopathology Laboratory of Central States began accepting skin biopsies for
processing in July 1984. The College of American Pathologists (CAP) performed our
most recent inspection in April 2009. (CAP certification number 64776-01). Our CLIA
number is 36D0656401. We also maintain a current laboratory license with the state of
Quality control procedures for preparation of surgical pathology slides include the
following: The tissue is submitted to the lab in zinc formalin-filled bottles supplied by the
laboratory in prefilled 7, 20, 40 and 80 ml containers. It is necessary to place the tissue in
formalin within minutes after the biopsy procedure to guarantee the preservation of
cellular structures. After the lab receives the fixed tissue, histotechnicians measure and
gross the tissue under the supervision of a board-certified dermatopathologist. Larger
excisional specimens are bread loafed and submitted in multiple cassettes for best view of
the surgical margins.
To maintain consistency in daily staining, a Hematoxylin & Eosin (H&E) control slide
from a control block is stained and microscopically observed for morphological detail.
Any discrepancies or inconsistencies are noted at this time and modifications made. This
information is written in a quality control log and all records are kept for at least two
years according to CAP guidelines. To maintain quality throughout the staining process, a
slide from each tray of 20 slides is microscopically inspected and compared with the
control slide to guarantee optimal intensity, hue and specificity. Additionally, special
stain slides have a control slide run in tandem with the special stain and numbered, filed
and stored accordingly.
Biopsy bottles are accessioned along with the corresponding pathology requisition and
stored in-house for at least two weeks after completion of the pathology report. All bottle
storage trays are numbered and rotated in a two week cycle. Bottles containing sample
tissue are kept for one to two months following diagnosis. Retention of the bottles allows
the physician to verify the clinical diagnosis with the pathology findings and resolve any
discrepancies in size, color or shape before disposal of the bottles.
Tissue blocks processed within the previous two years are stored on-site. Remaining
tissue blocks are stored at an off-site environmentally controlled warehouse for a
minimum of ten years per CAP regulations*. Two years of stained slides are also kept on-
site and older slides are stored off-site for a period of 10 years in accordance with CAP
regulations*. Stored blocks and slides are easily retrievable within 24-48 hours.
*Blocks and slides received from New York clinicians are retained for 20 years in
accordance with New York State Department of Health regulations.